Puy-en-Velay, 1 ½ hours south-west of Lyon, is a reputed place of Catholic pilgrimage since the Middle Ages.
The Cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay, consecrated to Mary, is a starting point on the way to Santiago de Compostela, the largest pilgrimage for Europe, with the Holy Land.
The miracles linked to the Virgin here began in the Middle Ages. Each of the first apparitions resulted in the creation, then the enlargement of the sanctuary where the devotion of Mary continues to bring many people.
This sanctuary is generally associated with two other sites, both also built on rocky heights nearby. There is the statue of Our Lady of France, on the Corneille rock and the peak of Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe that is called the “sanctuary of the angels”. The pilgrim can then discover each of these three places, offering a magnificent view of the region and allowing him to get a bit closer to Heaven. Each of these monuments was built on a rocky peak. This environmental characteristic gives the impression of a sanctuary “between heaven and earth” and allows a wide view of the green valley that surrounds it. There is a welcoming place where the out-going walkers on the road to Santiago can meet with the returning pilgrims. This is an occasion for friendly exchanges of the best stories “del camino. Each year about 1000 young people walk toward Le Puy during the inter-diocesan pilgrimage. If you do religious tourism in France, have a stop in Vézelay !